Saturday, April 18, 2015

On menace and clumsiness

Mark Steyn has a hilarious piece here about lies Hillary has told over the years. Remember the one about dodging sniper fire on a runway in Tuzla?

Steyn writes this caption:
During a three-second lull in the sniper fire and aerial bombardment on the runway in Tuzla, Hillary Danger Clinton takes time out from running for cover to exchange social pleasantries with a little girl. It was a terrifying moment, if only for the little girl.

Hookers for Hillary

Hillary has received an early and enthusiastic endorsement from the hookers at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Nevada.

Nevada sex workers at Dennis Hof’s famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch have launched a “Hookers for Hillary” Clinton website that endorses the former secretary of state’s campaign for president. (Hookers for Hillary)

From Jessica Chasmar's story in the Washington Times: The Hookers for Hillary website stated:
“The Bunny Ranch entertains customers from all around the globe, and the girls have great respect for any woman who can take powerful men from oppressive cultures and make them bend to her will.”

Earlier this month, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid received a ringing endorsement from a legal brothel in Pahrump, Nevada, called Sheri’s Ranch. In a letter, the ranch similarly commended Mr. Reid’s support for the Affordable Care Act and even offered to host the senator’s retirement party.
Read more here.

Thanks to Christopher Buckley

Friday, April 17, 2015

Would they miss you if you're gone?

Seth Godin asks a provocative question today:
What if you stopped?

What would happen to your audience if you shut the doors tomorrow? (I know what would happen to you, that's not my question... what would happen to them?)

What would happen to your customers and to your prospects if you stopped doing your work?

If you stopped showing up, if you stopped selling them something, would they miss you if you were gone?

If the airline went away, we'd just find another airline. If the cookie cutter politician went away, we'd just vote for someone else. If the typical life insurance agent...

Does it matter if it's you doing the work?

This is a fight between radical environmentalists and consumers of food

An anti-police movement?

How many isolated incidents equal a pattern?

Hillary's condescension: what we deserve?

Liz Mair challenges her liberal readers at The Daily beast:
When we have a choice between the more open, straight-talking candidate or the one that does everything through self-managed media so that they can control the message to the maximum conceivable degree, we go for the latter.

When we have a choice between uncomfortable substance and truth on the one hand, and reality or feel-good talking points and make-believe on the other, we reject the former.

Hillary Clinton may appear past her political prime: a constructed, fake and self-obsessed persona; a boring, risk-averse, default option for a party out of touch with many of its would-be constituents and lacking in creativity and ambition.

But given the way many Americans lead our lives now, she may also be exactly what we deserve.
Read more here.


I am going to start a new feature here at Bob's Blog. Each time I learn a new word, I am going to write about it. Today I was reading Betsy's Page, which is one of the blogs I try to read every day. Betsy Newmark was saying that Marco Rubio is "the anti-Hillary."
He's young, historic, and isn't wealthy. But the biggest contrast is that he's been willing to put forth policy proposals instead of anodyne platitudes.

When used as an adjective, anodyne, according to Google, means
not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.

Is support for Israel a Republican position? (and not a Democrat position?)

Caroline Glick writes in the Jerusalem Post that
Polls in recent years indicate that Republican support for Israel is nearly unanimous, while less than half of Democrats support the Jewish state.

...By supporting Obama, even as he has abandoned the US alliance with Israel, Jewish Democrats have lost their political leverage and power. That power is contingent upon their refusal to abandon Israel.

...During the next two months, Obama will be focused on closing his deal with Iran, and Clinton will be avidly seeking to lock up the Democratic nomination for president by building an impregnable fortress of campaign funds. If the American Jewish community uses this critical period to leverage Clinton’s financial requirements to convince her to oppose Obama’s deal that paves the way for a nuclear armed Iran, then they will reassert their relevance in American politics and they will restore support for Israel to its pre-Obama position as a bipartisan position.

If they fail to do so, then Obama’s bid to transform Israel into a partisan issue will succeed. If a Republican wins the White House in 2016, he will face an anti-Israel Democratic opposition. And if Clinton wins the White House, she will have no reason to support Israel.
Read more here.

Taking a stand for traditional marriage, or excluding an oppressed minority?

A hot issue is developing here in Colorado. Colorado Christian University holds something called the Western Conservative Summit yearly. This year the Log Cabin Republicans said they wanted to have a booth, and they threatened to make a controversy if they were not allowed to have a booth. They are a group of gay Republicans. They were told that they would be welcome to attend the meetings, but not allowed to have a booth.

Update:A compromise has been reached. Steve House, the newly elected leader of the Republican Party in Colorado, approached John Andrews, the man who puts together the Western Conservative Summit for Colorado Christian University. House offered to have the Log Cabin Republicans exhibit at the Colorado Republican Party booth. His offer was accepted by Andrews.

Now the question in my mind is, will the leftist gay movement accept the compromise? I doubt it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Still in bondage one year later

Hundreds of parents in Nigeria have not seen their young daughters in a year. Remember the news story on April 14, 2014 about the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapping over 300 girls into slavery? Remember Michelle Obama's hashtag? The girls are still missing one year later. Maybe something stronger than a hashtage was needed.

Read more here.

Hillary's support for a repeal of the First Amendment

Should Congress ever be granted the power to ban speech, any speech? John Hinderaker writes at Power Line,
The Udall Amendment would go far beyond repealing Citizens United, i.e., authorizing the federal government to fine people or send them to jail for producing movies and books that criticize politicians prior to elections. Bad as that certainly would be, the Udall Amendment goes much further. I wrote here:

Many observers have noted that if the Udall amendment became law, Congress could set ridiculously low contribution and spending levels, so as to virtually guarantee the re-election of incumbents. This is true–campaign finance “reform” has always been largely about incumbent protection. But I think the proposed amendment is even worse than that. Given its appallingly poor draftsmanship, I don’t see any reason why Congress couldn’t permit a high level of spending on behalf of incumbents (or no limit at all), while setting low limits for spending on behalf of challengers, or prohibiting such contributions altogether. The Democrats’ amendment would repeal the First Amendment with respect to its most fundamental application – supporting candidates in elections.

...The Udall Amendment would repeal the core of the First Amendment, the constitutional right to support and oppose candidates for office, and Hillary Clinton is in favor of it.
Read more here.

Is it time to pull the trigger on trigger warnings?

All the Secretary's women (and men)

Remember how the Watergate Hearings started before Nixon's landslide re-election, and then all hell broke loose after the election? I am beginning to think something similar will happen with the Benghazi Hearings and the 2016 election. Ian Hanchett writes at Breitbart,
House Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) reported that Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Sidney Blumenthal would be on his witness list to testify before the committee or in a transcribed interview on Wednesday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show.”
Read more here.

Postal worker thinks Congress is corrupt: lands on the lawn of the Capitol, but fails to deliver letters to members of Congress

I was fascinated when I heard the news this morning that a postal worker had flown a gyrocopter onto the grounds of the US Capitol. I determined to seek more information about it when I returned home from work tonight. First I went to Drudge: nothing! Then I Googled it and found this account in the Tampa Bay Times. Ben Montgomery writes,
Doug Hughes, a 61-year-old mailman from Ruskin, told his friends he was going to do it. He was going to fly a gyrocopter through protected airspace and put it down on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, then try to deliver 535 letters of protest to 535 members of Congress.
Read more here, including the content of his letters to members of Congress.


Daniel Halper reports that today in Pottawattamie County, Iowa Democratic Party leaders were asked to hand over their cellphones and cameras before taking part in a meeting with Hillary Clinton.
Read more here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don't get too close

Quite possibly the best prank this year...

Posted by UNILAD on Thursday, October 10, 2013

What really happened to Harry Reid?

Rush Limbaugh thinks he may know what happened to Senator Harry Reid. Read his fascinating account here.

"Don’t laugh. It may well be a winning formula in the present-day United States."

Victor Davis Hanson wonders why Hillary Clinton is even running.
Mrs. Clinton has neither a past record that she is proud to run on nor support for an Obama administration tenure that she will promise to continue. She is not a good speaker and has a disturbing habit of switching accents in amateurish attempts to mimic regional or racial authenticity. She accentuates her points by screaming in shrill outbursts, and dismisses serious questions by chortling for far too long. She is deaf to human cordiality, has a bad temper, and treats subordinates with haughty disdain. In that sense she is more authentic than her equally callous and narcissistic, but charismatic husband.

What is then left? Actually one motif.

Hillary is both a victim and trailblazer. Her disastrous record of unethical and illegal activities — shaking down foreigners for donations to her foundation while secretary of State, creating her exclusive server for a private email account, destroying all her emails after admitting that she was judge and jury of what were and were not government records — is instead proof of right-wing McCarthyism.

Those who attack her are afraid of a woman president and what she represents — an inclusive social agenda that protects gays, women, and minorities from right-wing hooliganism and religious bigotry, fire-and-brimstone anti-abortionists who want entrance into our bedrooms and to erect glass ceilings to thwart feminists, reincarnations of Bull Connors and Lester Maddoxes who would put blacks back in chains, nativists and restrictionists who hide their racism by faux calls for border enforcement, and greedy speculators and stock manipulators who care little for the 99%.

That is Hillary Clinton’s past, present, and future. There is nothing more. No record — ever — of success, no innate charm, eloquence, brilliance, or campaign savviness. And given her iconic female candidacy, her turn, her money — and the lack of an alternative — Hillary Clinton needs no agenda, whether a past one to defend or a future one to rally to.

...The agenda is simply that Americans are not doing well because of all sorts of illiberal enemies who conspire to thwart them due to their class, race, and gender — and the nation’s first woman president will make it all nice.

Don’t laugh. It may well be a winning formula in the present-day United States.
Read more here.

Hillary announces

9 reasons voters should reject Hillary

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann give 9 reasons voters should reject Hilary Clinton:

Here are nine reasons why electing Hillary Clinton as president would be a mistake.

1. She is a hawk who will get us into another war. Clinton is instinctively a hawk and is always very quick to urge the use of force. She backed involvement in Iraq, Syria and Libya. By temperament, she has a bias toward sharp, decisive action, is impatient with delay and terrified of appearing weak. She likes to be the tough guy.

2. She tends to follow certain advisers slavishly, almost to the exclusion of her own views. She has always had a guru to lead her. Bill Clinton is the standby. But, at various times in her life, Hillary Clinton has followed Webb Hubbell, Vince Foster, Mandy Grunwald, Ira Magaziner, Sandy Berger, Sidney Blumenthal, Mark Penn and others.

She doesn’t just take their advice, she adopts their method of thinking and becomes completely dependent on them. They become her brain. She will follow that person to the ends of the earth and only “wake up” when she is shocked by an event like the loss of Congress in 1994 or her defeat in 2008 to reconsider her devotion to the guru.

3. She has no knowledge of economics, nor much interest in it. Economics has always been Bill Clinton’s turf. The former first lady neither knows much about it nor cares much. She has avoided studying it and has no clear ideas or theories concerning it. She tends to feel that it is a technocratic function best left to the experts, a view common to those reared in the arrogance of the Keynesians of the ’60s and ’70s.

4. She has no deep sense of who she is. Hillary Clinton is endlessly adaptable. She can be anyone she has to be. Many politicians adopt protective coloration as a survival strategy. But Clinton does not just wear a disguise. She has no anchor, no real sense of who she really is.

5. Her worldview is shaped by her grudges. Nobody has a longer enemies list than Clinton, nor one kept so closely at hand. Slights are never forgotten and usually trigger a childish silent treatment as punishment. One can, for example, see her repeating President Obama’s behavior toward Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu — foreign policy by grudge.

6. Her fundraising has totally compromised her freedom of action. Nobody is as bound to the status quo as Clinton, tied down by millions of special-interest donations. Like Gulliver, these strings come from almost every industry in every country in the world.

Many candidates take office owing a lot to their donors. But this is different.

Bill and Hillary Clinton personally raised almost all the donations. They were in on the deal, gave the appropriate speeches, made the needed policy decisions and charmed the right people to get the money. So their involvement with donors is greater than if they had worked only through bundlers.

And much of the money went to them personally, not their foundation or committees, making them that much more indebted.

7. She is paranoid and suspicious. Presidential historian James David Barber defined presidents based, in part, on whether they enjoyed serving. Bill Clinton did. Hillary Clinton will not. Her sense of enemies closing in on her will overwhelm her. She will feel under siege, like Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover, making her dark, sullen, secretive and surly.

8. She approved NSA wiretapping of foreign leaders. As secretary of State, she had to be aware that the U.S. was wiretapping the cellphones of foreign leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel. It is very hard to suppose that we would tap the phone of one of our key allies without the approval of the secretary of State.

9. Her contempt for the press is legendary and will lead to more and more secrets. Can anyone disagree with this?

Electing Hillary Clinton would be a big mistake — more reasons to follow.

Hillary wants to curtail free speech

James Taranto reports today that Mrs. Clinton plans to spend $2.5 Billion dollars on her campaign, which is considerably more than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent on their campaigns combined. Taranto also writes,
Now, in a bitter foretaste of life in “a President Hillary Clinton world,” Mrs. Clinton is urging an amendment to the Constitution to do away with the right to criticize her.

...Mrs. Clinton’s most outrageous hypocrisy, however, rests in her call to amend the Constitution to curtail free speech. This has been a popular position on the left since Citizens United. As we noted in September, by that time all but a handful of Senate Democrats had signed on as co-sponsors of a resolution to propose an amendment for near-total repeal of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. In this regard, as in much else, Mrs. Clinton is a follower, not a leader.
Read more here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Income inequality

It was ClintonWorld week. Mom announced for president, and Chelsea covered Elle Magazine.

Chelsea Clinton in a Gucci dress, Mateo New York bracelet, Cartier bracelet, Garland Collection ring, Halleh ring.

Paola Kudacki for ELLE
Derek Lam blouse, Stella McCartney trousers, Bulgari necklace, Tiffany & Co. bracelets, Trollbeads bangle, Garland Collection ring, Halleh ring, Brian Atwood pumps.

She is the war on women!

Maureen Callahan has a history of Hillary's scandals in the New York Post.
One of the great lessons of 2008, say Hillary’s aides, is that she has learned to run toward history, not from it: Instead of downplaying her gender, she’ll amplify it, running not just as the potential first female president but as a proud feminist.

Juanita Broaddrick
Photo NBC

If so, she may create a new problem for herself: How to explain her decades-long defense of her womanizing husband — a philanderer at best, a predator at worst? In 2014, the papers of Hillary’s late friend Diane Blair were made public; in them, Blair wrote that Hillary dismissed Monica Lewinksy, then a 22-year-old White House intern, as a “narcissistic loony-toon” and insisted that Bill had not abused his power.

As for Bill’s other women — including Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey, who alleged sexual harassment, and Juanita Broad­drick, who accused him of rape — the Clintons often embarked on a “nuts and sluts” campaign, denigrating the accusers.

According to Carl Bernstein’s “A Woman in Charge,” Hillary called Bill’s longtime mistress Gennifer Flowers “trailer trash”; she also encouraged his team to get signed statements from all of Bill’s other women, swearing they’d never had sex with him.

Willey later said that Hillary spearheaded a “terror campaign” against her. “She is the war on women, as far as I’m concerned,” Willey said
Read more here.

If the race is close, the little things really can make a difference.

Hillary Clinton has a highly paid campaign staff. Nevertheless, they made this gaff in her announcement yesterday: "she's fought children and families her whole career." Her TweetDeck photo was positioned such that the checkmark covered her eye.

Sean Trende concludes at Real Clear Politics,
If Hillary loses, it won’t be because of a typo in her campaign announcement. There were also good things about the rollout: The actual video was solid. But like her famous email press conference, the risk is that the mistakes are indicative of a deeper problem. These little things are minor, until it emerges that a higher-up in the campaign doesn’t know that the delegates in the nomination battle are awarded proportionally. Then, suddenly, there is a problem. If the race is close, the little things really can make a difference.
Read more here.

Obama employing Gruberesque tactics

Jonathan Gruber, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, speaks during a House Oversight Committee hearing in Washington last year. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
Marc A. Thiessen writes in the Washington Post,
Remember Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who as caught on tape boasting how the president had taken advantage of the “stupidity” of American voters to pass his health-care law?

Well it seems, Obama is applying the “Gruber Doctrine” once again — this time to foreign policy.

The Gruber Doctrine is based on the premise that, in the words of the now infamous MIT professor, “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” and that the “basic exploitation of the lack of . . . understanding of the American voter” is “really, really critical” for enacting your preferred policies.

That is precisely what Obama is doing when it comes to Iran and Cuba.

...Will sanctions relief be front-loaded, as Iran insists, or will sanctions come off gradually, as the Iranians meet certain performance benchmarks? Will there be any transparency into Iran’s past secret nuclear activity, information that is critical to verifying its compliance today? Will there be “snap inspections” and access to all Iranian facilities, both civilian and military? Iran says no. Obama is counting on the fact that Americans won’t be able to follow all the details about “centrifuges” and “domestic enrichment capacity.” He won’t share the details but wants us to trust him that there will be “unprecedented verification.” If you believe that, you probably still think that if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.

Obama is also counting on exploiting the “lack of understanding of the American voter” when it comes to his normalization of relations with the Castro regime in Cuba. At a news conference in Panama this weekend, Obama declared that “There is majority support of our policy in the United States” and that “the American people don’t need to be persuaded that this is in fact the right thing to do.” A new poll commissioned by my American Enterprise Institute colleague Roger Noriega for InterAmerican Security Watch finds that Americans do support Obama’s plan by a margin of 51 to 38 percent . . . until they learn some basic facts about Cuba. When Americans are told that Cuba is hosting Russian ships in its harbors, opposition to normalization jumps to 58 percent while support sinks to 30 percent. When Americans are told of Cuba’s attempts to smuggle 240 tons of weaponry to North Korea, opposition jumps to 63 percent and support drops to 26 percent. When Americans are told that Cuba is harboring a cop-killer and terrorists, opposition jumps to 63 percent, and support plummets to 23 percent. When asked whether sanctions should be maintained pending Cuba’s progress on human rights and free elections, Americans agree by a margin of 64-16. And when asked whether Cuba’s designation as a supporter of terrorism should be maintained because it harbors terrorists, respondents agreed 68 percent to 16 percent.

...Obama and his foreign policy team know what is good for us. And if we’re too “stupid” to catch the deception, that’s our problem, not theirs.

It worked for Obamacare, they figure, so why not Iran and Cuba?

The Clintons: pioneers of the brazen lie, coyly delivered and knowingly accepted

Bret Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal,
We are hardly a month past Hillary Clinton’s Server-gate press conference, in which she served up whoppers faster than a Burger King burger flipper—lies large and small, venial and potentially criminal, and all of them quickly found out. Emails to Bill, who never emails? The convenience of one device, despite having more than one device?

...What the Clintons pioneered—the brazen lie, coyly delivered and knowingly accepted—has become something more than the M.O. of one power couple. It has become the liberal way of lying.

...Question for Mrs. Clinton: Does she think the U.S. should gently midwife Iran’s nuclear birth or violently abort it? If she wants to be president, our former top diplomat could honor us with a detailed answer.

In the meantime, let’s simply note what the liberal way of lying has achieved. We are on the cusp of reaching the most consequential foreign-policy decision of our generation. We have a deal whose basic terms neither side can agree on. We have a president whose goals aren’t what he said they were, and whose motives he has kept veiled from the public.

Maybe the ayatollah will give him his deal, and those with the secret knowledge will cheer. As for the rest of us: Haven’t we learned that we’re too stupid to know what’s for our own good?
Read more here.

ISIS now in Texas and New Mexico

The Blaze and Judicial Watch have stories tonight about the fact that ISIS has been operating along with Mexican cartels near El Paso, Texas, and in nearby mountains of New Mexico. Start reading here.

More from Putin

Tom Rogan writes about Putin being back in business, selling to Iran Russia's S-300 air defense system. Putin also threatens to sell the same systems to Syria, thus having
the capacity to threaten short-term Western air superiority
in the Middle East.
Read more here.

An ankle-biter

Victor Davis Hanson writes in National Review,
Lots of questions arise about the muddled foreign policy of the Obama administration. Critics suggest that America’s friends have now become enemies, and enemies friends. Others cite incompetence and naïveté rather than deliberate agendas as the cause of American decline, and of growing global chaos from Libya to Ukraine.

But, in fact, there is a predictable pattern to Obama’s foreign policy. The president has an adolescent, romantic view of professed revolutionary societies and anti-Western poseurs — and of his own ability uniquely to reach out and win them over. In the most superficial sense, Obama demonstrates his empathy for supposedly revolutionary figures of the non-Western world through gratuitous, often silly remarks about Christianity and Western colonial excesses, past and present. He apologizes with talk of our “own dark periods” and warns of past U.S. “dictating”; he contextualizes; he ankle-bites the very culture he grew up and thrived in, as if he can unapologetically and without guilt enjoy the West’s largesse only by deriding its history and values. no point does Obama ever empathize with thousands of dissidents rotting in Cuban and Palestinian jails, or homosexuals and feminists persecuted in Iran or journalists in Turkey.
Read more here

Hoodwinking voters

Paula Bolyard has an excellent column at PJ Media explaining how Hillary Clinton has a record of vehemently opposing opportunities for parents of poor and minority children to choose what schools they wish to attend.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential announcement video featured a lineup of ordinary Americans talking about things they’re getting ready for, including a mother and daughter who were packing up their belongings and preparing to move.

“My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year,” the mother says, “so we’re moving, just so she can belong to a better school.”

Someone — actually everyone — on Team Hillary apparently missed the irony of a family being forced to move to a different school district to find a better school when it’s well known that Hillary is vehemently (and irrationally) opposed to school vouchers.

In the video above Clinton says that if school vouchers were allowed, parents would be lining up to get government money to pay for (imaginary) white supremacist schools and the “School of the Jihad.” That hasn’t happened anywhere in the country where vouchers are allowed, but it’s a scary bogeyman opponents like to use to counter those who say poor children in failing schools ought to be allowed to take their funding dollars to the school of their choice.

If Hillary really wanted to be the “champion” for that little girl in her video — and for families across the nation — she’d stop supporting policies that force families to move in order to escape failing, sclerotic school systems. She would support school choice in all forms, including school vouchers, instead of standing in the way of progress.
Go here to view the video.

What is different about Rubio?

No sooner had I published my post on Marco Rubio, than a video arrived in my email inbox from political adviser Dick Morris. Morris believes Rubio needs to do a better job of explaining to voters what is different about him. What distinguishes him from the others? What is his selling point? Go here to watch the Morris video.

Rubio may have an appeal to a wide cross-section of voters

Marco Rubio has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2016 GOP presidential contest. There is much to like about him. However, there is one issue that continues to dog his candidacy: his participation in the Gang of Eight's efforts to pass a massive immigration reform measure. He now says that was a mistake, and
Instead, Rubio is renewing an argument he made originally that Congress should take up immigration reform in pieces, starting with proposals that Republicans largely support such as enforcement at the southern border, a mandatory electronic system to verify the legal status of employees and a new method to track people who overstay their visas. He’ll argue that deporting all 11 million immigrants here illegally is improbable, and call for an onerous series of steps to allow some to stay in the country. And a President Rubio would only entertain that possibility of citizenship after enforcement-minded immigration laws are enacted first.
Read more here.


Dennis Prager writes,
This belief that elected leaders are good for the ethnic, gender or racial group to which they belong is a left-wing myth. It is difficult to name almost any significant contributions that all the black mayors and congressmen — and for that matter a black president — have made to black America’s life. At the same time, it is next to impossible to name one disadvantage to Asian-Americans because there are few Asian-Americans in prominent political positions.

Nevertheless all we hear from the left is how important it is to have a woman president of the United States.

...Anyway, how exactly does Hillary Clinton exemplify female achievement? What she has achieved — all the fame, being elected a US senator and being named secretary of state — is due to the man she married. Isn’t that supposedly the antithesis of the message feminists want to convey to young women?

Compare Hillary Clinton to Carly Fiorina, a woman who went from small-town girl to CEO and Board Chair of Hewlett-Packard, one of the world’s largest companies. The comparison should be embarrassing. Yet how many liberals who are preoccupied with having a woman president would vote for Carly Fiorina? Zero.

Second, I haven’t begun to mention how unqualified, if character means anything, Hillary Clinton is to be president of the United States. The late New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist William Safire, never known for personal invective, opened his column of Jan. 8, 1996 with this:

“Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady … is a congenital liar. … She is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.”

Nothing has changed. Are there a dozen Americans who believe that, while secretary of state, she kept a private email account on a personal server because handling two phones was too cumbersome? And now that she has destroyed the data on her server, is there any doubt as to why she kept two phones?

Nevertheless, her mendacity and her lack of accomplishments count for nothing in the eyes of Democrats, feminists and others on the left. She is, after all, a woman (who’s liberal). What else matters?
Read more here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The mencession

The state is now the husband. Name five legal reasons why men should want to get married. Feminism = equality? No, special privileges for women! Bumbling dads on t.v. Men inept? Men in denial that this is happening? Men not allowed to speak up? Men not being rewarded? Costs and dangers higher? Coverture now in the hands of women (men's rights now only go as far as women allow them to go). Divorced men get custody of the kids only ten percent of the time. 97% of alimony in the US is paid by men. Men who owe child support are eight times more likely to be put in jail than are women who owe child support. Men are the last group it is okay to be biased about!

The suicide rate (not attempted suicide, but actual suicide) is heavily skewed toward men. Wpmen attempt suicide more often, and do it more as a cry for help, whereas men do it more to end hopelessness, and are more likely to use lethal means. The majority of mental health practitioners are women.

Colleges now 57% female, 43% men!

Men, be aware of what is happening! There is another option out there besides making fun of men and treating them as the enemy! Society needs to learn to respect men and boys, just as we need to do for women and girls!

Going all out for the little guy and gal

You think Hillary is not the candidate of the little guy or gal? As Christopher Buckley says, "Nothing, and I mean NOTHING says "fighting for the little guy" like official campaign champagne glasses.

Order yours here for $49.99.

A conflagration, or tinder waiting for a match?

Over at Chateau Heartiste, today's subject is the paradox of women's need to be desired and dismissed:
Commenter irishsavant puzzles over a seeming contradiction at the core of Game philosophy.

"I acknowledge that I haven’t taken a formal course in Heartisteology but surely there’s a blatant contradiction here. How do you square the primacy of a woman’s need to be desired with the dismissive treatment inherent in the Alpha game plan which seems to be the only way to win a woman’s heart?"

The contradiction is neatly resolved once you accept the essential conflict of women’s romantic longing for the desirable man who will deny the prerogatives of his own desirability to embrace monogamous commitment to her.

Women need the desire of a man who is himself desired. This contingency is responsible for much of the contradictory nature of female intention that befuddles inexperienced men. Yes, a woman loves the idea of the man so struck by lust that he loses control around her, and yet she knows that a man’s lustful abandon means nothing if he surrenders himself to any willing provocation. His surrender means so much more when it’s wrested after a string of battlefield victories, and his self-pride is at its zenith.

This is the impetus for the female attraction to men who walk the line between strong sexual intent and cavalier dismissiveness. To solicit a woman, then push her away, then coyly reconsider, repeated as necessary and with emphasis at each step added or removed according to its reception, until the passionate coda, is the formula for winning seductions.

A woman wants to be desired and taken, but she also wants to feel like she, alone among women, is capable of inflaming that desire, and what better proof of her power to arouse and capacity to awaken well-fed beasts to the hunt than the beast’s initially cagey appraisal of her worth as prey?

Executive Summary: Male desire is a conflagration. Female desire is tinder waiting for a match.

Hillary, warts and all

Victor Davis Hanson writes,
...Most Americans believe that the era of adolescence is over, and the next president will have to be an adult who puts away the golf clubs and ESPN monitors to clean up what will be $20 trillion in debt and a collapsed foreign policy. The public seems to accept that taxes can’t go much higher. No one thinks that borrowing trillions was a sign of government austerity. Too many, not too few, Americans appear to be hooked on entitlements. The borders are too porous, not too well guarded. Spiking the stock market was not the same as creating well-paying middle-class jobs. More gas and oil came despite, not because of, Obama.

What, then, is Hillary Clinton’s strategy for 2016?

...Hillary has never been a very inspiring candidate. She is petulant when pressed, and appears at once bored and angry when cross-examined. Her stump speeches can be best characterized as high-pitched and punctuated with shrillness.

She does not so much habitually lie, as habitually see no problem with lying, as if she either cannot distinguish untruth from veracity, or simply believes that normal expectations of conduct should not apply to herself. Her mea culpas about the e-mail scandal were historic in that not a single declaration that she made could possibly be true: One does not need two smartphones to have two e-mail accounts; Ms. Clinton uses not just one but, by her own admission, four smart communication devices. The physical presence of security guards does not ensure a server’s security from cyber attacks. Bill Clinton does not use e-mail, and thus Hillary could not have communicated with him by that means as she claimed.

She seems unaware that no one has the right to decide when or if to comply with federal regulations when leaving office. No one has the right to be sole auditor of her own compliance with federal law. No other major Cabinet secretary in the Obama administration failed to have a .gov account. And on and on and on.

In sum, the Democrats have neither a winning agenda nor someone to blame this time around. They are stuck with only symbols and icons — and this time shaky ones at that. In 2016, choosing any candidate other than the potential first woman president would be as futile as running Joe Biden in 2008 instead of Barack Obama as the potential first African-American president. There would be no icon, not even a small chance of massive minority turnout, and certainly less bloc voting on the basis of tribe. In other words, for the Democrats, 2016 would hinge on just defending the Obama record and the principles of liberal theology — and thereby probably falling short on election day. It is either the worn-out idea of Hillary, warts and all, as both victim and trailblazer — or bust.
Read more here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"When you've got a corrupt attorney-general and a corrupt revenue collector, you don't really need much else."

Mark Steyn comments on Obama's Easter prayer breakfast, held several days after Easter:
At a so-called Easter "prayer breakfast", President Obama, as is his wont, took another swipe at Christians:

On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that, as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes, when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.

Each to his own. I get concerned that, as the President was lecturing those Christians less perfect than him, some 150 students were slaughtered at Garissa University in Kenya for no other reason than that they were Christian. Had I been at that prayer breakfast, I would have walked out in protest.

Oh, wait, you can't do that with the President of the United States. The joint's in lockdown. So, okay, I'd be stuck in there until the 40-car motorcade had left and it's safe to reopen the public thoroughfares. But I would have booed. Is it too much to expect freeborn Americans occasionally to show a little irritation at both the President's condescension and, given that some of the oldest Christian communities on earth are currently being exterminated, his ghastly bad taste?

Steyn also notes that various candidates are announcing that they are running for president:
~For myself, I'd like a candidate who's serious about ending the corruption. A republic has by definition to be virtuous - or it's a banana republic. This country has a chief law enforcement officer who prosecutes Senator Menendez, a Democrat senator who made the mistake of crossing the President, but won't prosecute Lois Lerner, a member of the supposedly "non-partisan" civil service who used the bureaucracy to target the President's enemies. When you've got a corrupt attorney-general and a corrupt revenue collector, you don't really need much else.

"Climate change catastrophism is the biggest scientific fraud that has ever occurred."

Roger Kimball writes at PJ Media about a book entitled Climate Change: the Facts.
The first essay, “The science and politics of climate change” by Ian Plimer, a retired professor of Earth Sciences, is worth the price of the volume. Plimer goes through the various charges leveled by eco-nuts one by one and shows just how preposterous they are. His conclusion:

Climate change catastrophism is the biggest scientific fraud that has ever occurred. Much climate “science” is political ideology dressed up as science. There are times in history when the popular consensus demonstrably wrongs and we live in such a time. Cheap energy is fundamental for employment, living in the modern world. and for bringin the Third World out of poverty. . . .

[T]hree short decades of irresponsible climate policy will take at least a generation to reverse because there are now armes of bureaucratics, politicians, scientists, and businesses living off the climate catastrophe scare. Furthermore, the education system has been captured by activists, and the young are inculcated with environmental, political, and economic ideology.
Read more here.

"A land of hyper-regulation is not the same as a land of law."

Is it possible to live without breaking some law? Mark Steyn writes,
A land of hyper-regulation is not the same as a land of law. The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled on two cases of British women whose employers forbade them to wear crucifixes — one an NHS nurse, the other a British Airways baggage handler. The court ruled against the nurse but in favor of the baggage handler. Why? What particular legal principle illuminated both cases? Don't ask the jurists. Re the BA employee, they declared that "the court has reached the conclusion in the present case that a fair balance was not struck." How is BA or any other employer to know what constitutes a "fair balance"? They can't — or not reliably. Only the state and the courts can definitively establish that, by colonizing Moulton's "middle land" unto policing dress codes, religious expression, social habits, and even casual conversational exchanges.

Or, as we now know, policing the kinds of cakes one is compelled to bake.

As that Shaw's sign suggests, a kind of civic paralysis sets in: It is a small step from a citizenry that no longer knows how it should act to a citizenry that no longer knows whether or if it can act, and from there to a citizenry that can no longer act. When everything is the domain of law, everyone is potentially a criminal. Over the decades, National Review has been famously antipathetic to Ayn Rand, but she called this one a long time ago. In Atlas Shrugged, one of her characters muses: "One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

Which is about where we are.
Read more here.

Obama and Kerry: hapless

Andrew McCarthy writes clearly in National Review about Iran:
Iran has built its foreign policy around the goal of “Death to America” for the last 36 years. It continues, unabashed, to be the world’s leading state sponsor of jihadist terrorism — in particular, anti-American terrorism. It has killed and abetted the killing of Americans throughout the current regime’s existence. It is a totalitarian sharia state that, at this moment, is imprisoning at least three Americans. One of them, Saeed Abedini, has been sentenced to eight years’ incarceration for establishing Christian houses of worship, which the regime says is a threat to national security. The regime, further, has repeatedly vowed to exterminate Israel, our close ally and the only true democracy in the region.

With such a rogue state, there is only one negotiation a sensible nation — particularly the world’s most powerful nation — can have. You tell them that until they convincingly disavow their anti-American stance, cease their support for terrorism, release American prisoners, and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, that there is no point in discussing anything else.

In the middle of their negotiations with Obama, the mullahs had one of their top military commanders announce that, as far as Iran is concerned, “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable.” That is one of their bottom-line requirements. Obama’s job is to move them off their bottom line, not erase ours.

Two weeks ago, while the hapless Secretary Kerry hailed supposed progress in the negotiations, Khamenei reaffirmed his call for “Death to America.” As the negotiations limped along, Iran-backed jihadists known as the Houthis ousted the government of Yemen, triggering the emergency abandonment of the U.S. embassy and potentially enabling Iran to disrupt key commercial sea lanes while establishing a menacing presence on Saudi Arabia’s border. Iranian military officials continue to proclaim that “the American Navy is one of our targets”; just a few weeks ago, as Obama’s negotiations entered what was portrayed as the critical phase, Iran fired ballistic missiles at a mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier during naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz.
Read more here.

"You might want to soften a little; a little more, okay, maybe a lot more!"

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Searching the stratosphere, when the culprit is right there in her house

President Obama's daughter Malia suffers from asthma. Her father blames global warming. James S. Robbins writes in USA Today that the culprit might just be her dad.
Research funded by the National Institutes of Health has shown that smoking outside doesn't totally protect children from secondhand smoke. Even when smoking is done outside, nicotine in infants' hair is five times higher for babies with outside smoking parents than non-smoking parents. Smoking-related chemicals in infants' urine is seven times higher. Other studies have found similar results.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "tobacco smoke is one of the most common asthma triggers," and "if you have asthma, it's important that you avoid exposure to secondhand smoke."

No father wants to feel that his habits might hurt his children. But sometimes you have to look in the mirror to find the guilty party, not search the stratosphere for a hidden culprit.
Read more

Amazing survival of a Navy Seal

What it's like to hear for the first time

Who will announce next week?

Will Daddy come out of the basement? Can the Ronulans tone down their rhetoric? Will the White House be moved to a trailer park? Is Jeb a Mauxican?

A new site for Laura Ingraham

Dylan Byers reports at Politico that Laura Ingraham is putting together a new website:
Laura Ingraham's new website will be called LifeZette and will brand itself as "a cultural and political web destination for conservatives and independents," the On Media blog has learned.

The forthcoming site, which we reported on yesterday, is now being included in promotional material for Ingraham's speaking gigs. An upcoming event at the Petroleum Club of Midland, Texas, bills Ingraham as "the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of the soon-to-be launched"

Ingraham has apparently been at work on the site for months. The web address was registered by Ingraham's business partner Peter Anthony in October, and LinkedIn profiles for the site's staff show that they joined the company in December.

On Monday, a source told us that outgoing Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro had been tapped to serve as the site's editor. We've now confirmed that he will be the site's political editor, not it's editor-in-chief.*

Ingraham, a radio host and Fox News contributor, launched her political career as a speechwriter in the Reagan administration. She has been an influential conservative pundit since the mid-'90s and last year was named a contributor to "This Week," ABC's Sunday morning public affairs program.

Own it! Man up! Repent!


Friday, April 10, 2015

No deal is better than the Obama/Kerry Iran deal

Charles Krauthammer puts all aspects of the Iran nuclear deal under his analytical microscope, and concludes,
You set out to prevent proliferation and you trigger it. You set out to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability and you legitimize it. You set out to constrain the world’s greatest exporter of terror threatening every one of our allies in the Middle East and you’re on the verge of making it the region’s economic and military hegemon.
Read more here.

Racial politics backfire in Chicago

Chicago's Mayor Emmanuel won re-election this week. Four-fifths of his votes came from Chicago's most affluent neighborhoods.

Michael Bargo Jr. believes that the election results will be a wake up call for the DNC.
This election took place 30 years after Chicago’s Mayor Harold Washington issued an Executive Order declaring Chicago the first big city sanctuary for illegal immigration.

Democrats have given Hispanics every entitlement government can give them. All they asked for in return is for Hispanics to support the Chicago Democrat machine candidates.

But in a stunning, unprecedented act of rebellion, Chicago Hispanics voted for their own mayoral candidate, Jesus Garcia. Garcia’s showing surprised the once all-powerful Democrat machine, a machine that has ruled Chicago politics for over eighty years.

Since 1985 Democrats have nurtured the Hispanic population of the city. They have bent over backwards to enable them to vote. In Illinois, the state passed a law stating that the matricula consular, a form of I.D. an immigrant obtains from his nation’s consulate, is as valid in the state as an official state I.D. Also Illinois, like many other states, passed a law stating that illegal immigrants may have a driver’s license. With these two forms of I.D.,Democrats expected Hispanics to follow the example of black voters before them and vote only for machine Democrats.

Thanks to the sanctuary policies promoted by Democrats, Hispanics will soon have the numbers to take over the Democrat machine of the city. For example, there are now about as many Hispanics in the city as white residents. And in the public school system 46% of the students are Hispanic, compared to 39% African-American and 9% white. And Mexican families, who make up the majority of illegal immigrants in Chicago, have twice as many children as white families. They tend to stay in the city and not move out to suburbs.

In order to secure Hispanic voter support Democrats have unwittingly empowered Hispanics with what has become a nationwide ground game. The players in this political network are the biggest contributors to national political campaigns. For example, while the SEIU is closely allied with the DNC, the Illinois Council of the two million member SEIU broke ranks and supported Garcia. One-fourth of the SEIU’s members are Hispanic immigrants. According to the Center for Responsive Politics the SEIU are the largest campaign contributor to any party, giving $220.6 million to political candidates, with 99% going to Democrats.

In Chicago and other big cities only the Hispanic portion of the public school children population is growing. This is also true nationally: while the national number of white and black school age children age 5-17 has barely increased, the Hispanic segment of the nation’s school age children has tripled since 1980.

Democrats may feel that Republicans are their greatest adversary, but they have far more to fear from the Hispanic infrastructure than from the GOP. This sea change in their party will all be accomplished by persons who were enabled to vote through the Democrats’ strategies of Constitutional corruption, mostly recently expanded by President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform.

At some point Democrats will have to fight this takeover. When Obama ran for president he was immunized from criticism because Democrats wanted to use his race as a shield. But they can’t criticize Garcia or other Hispanic candidates too much because then Hispanics may perceive that as racist.

It will be difficult for Democrats to suddenly ask for voter I.D. laws, since they have been so adamantly against them. And it’s difficult for them to complain that the southern border isn’t closed, since they are the ones who want it kept open to their potential voters.

Democrats have established the illegal Hispanic vote with the goal of enabling their party to maintain power throughout the 21st century. But apparently Democrats never imagined that the Hispanics would rise and take over the party. Fittingly, this has happened first in Chicago, the first official big sanctuary city. But in other big cities the Hispanic population is the only segment that is growing, and while Democrats have always played racial politics, for the first time this tactic has worked against them; as Hispanics, with the help of disgruntled African-Americans, have united behind one candidate and rebelled against machine control.
Read more here.

To be desired

Noam Shpancer asks in Psychology Today,
If monogamy, intimacy and communication are the engines of female desire, why do so many women fail to ignite with a familiar and faithful man? Why does their passion fizzle in marriage? Why will they seek to secretly graze in foreign pastures? Why do they not benefit from the monogamous arrangement more? Why do they break it up more readily?

Marta Meana, a researcher at the University of Nevada, has argued provocatively (link is external) that the organizing principle of female sexuality is the desire to be desired. In her view, the delicate, tentative guy who politely thinks about you and asks if this is okay or that is okay is a guy who may meet the expectations of your gender politics (treats me as an equal; is respectful of me; communicates with me) and your parents’ preferences, but he may also put you into a sexual coma—not despite these qualities, but because of them.

Female desire, according to Meana, is activated when a woman feels overwhelmingly desired, not rationally considered. Female erotic literature, including all those shades of gray, is built on this fantasy. Sexual desire in this view does not work according to our expectations and social values. Desire seeks the path of desire, not the path of righteousness. It thrives not on social order but on its negation. This is one reason all religions and societies try to control, contain, limit and re-direct it.

Despite what is commonly believed, then, Meana argues that female sexuality is more self-centered than male’s. Mick Jagger’s lamentations (link is external) aside, male fantasies focus on giving satisfaction, not on receiving it. Men see themselves in their fantasies bringing the woman to orgasm, not themselves. Women see the man, set aflame by uncontrollable lust for them, bringing them to ecstasy. Men want to excite women. Women want men to excite them.

Meana asserts that this aspect of female sexuality explains the prevalence of rape fantasies in the female fantasy repertoire. Rape fantasies, in this understanding, are actually fantasies about surrender, not out of masochistic yearnings to be harmed or punished, but out of the female desire to be desired by a man to the point of driving him out of control. By this logic, the fantasy is actually about surrendering voluntarily after the coveted man, in his inability to stop himself, attests to the woman’s own supreme desirability.

According to this view, monogamous marriage does work for women on a certain level: it provides security, intimacy, and help with the children. But it also suffocates female sexual desire. As the mischievous author Toni Bentley (link is external) wrote recently: “There is virtually no female sexual problem—hormonal, menopausal, orgasmic, or just plain old lack of interest—that will not be solved by—ta-da!—a new lover.”

At the end of the day, the accumulating evidence appears to reveal a paradoxical element at the core of female desire, a tension between two conflicting motives. On the one hand is the desire for stability, intimacy, and security—picture the flame on the burner of a gas stove: controlled, utilitarian, domesticated, and good for making dinner. On the other hand is the need to feel totally, uncontrollably desired, the object of raw, primal lust—a house on fire.
Read more here.

Media having a hard time intimidating Rand Paul

timothy carney writes in the Washington Examiner,
Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is pro-life. As such, he constantly is asked about the most extreme cases of abortion — rape, incest, severe threats to a mother's health. So on Wednesday, Paul encouraged reporters to ask Democrats, who favor legalized abortion, about similarly tough cases, such as late-term abortion.

"Why don't we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a seven-pound baby in the uterus?" Paul said. "You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she's OK with killing a seven-pound baby that is not born yet."

Schultz quickly came back with an answer: "I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story."
Read more here.

Marijuana legalization in Colorado

What has been the effect of legalizing marijuana in Colorado?
Impaired driving: Traffic fatalities involving operators testing positive for marijuana doubled from 2007-2012. The majority of arrests involving driving-under-the-influence-of-drugs involved marijuana.

Drug-related expulsions/suspensions increased 32% from 2007/2008 school year to 2011/2012.

In 2013 48% of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana.

From 2011-2013 there was a 57% increase in Marijuana-related emergency room visits. Hospitalizations related to marijuana have increased 82% from 2008-2013.

Highway interdiction seizures of marijuana destined for other states have increased 397% in Colorado from 2008-2013.

Us Mail parcel interceptions of marijuana destined for other sates increased 1280% from 2008-2013.

THC potency has increased from 3.96% in 1995 to 12.33 % in 2013.
Go here to read the exhaustive, comprehensive report.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Pentagon's high-tech development of human-machine interaction at the tactical level

Bill Gertz writes in the Washington Times about human-machine interaction at the tactical level.

Before leaving office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a look at high-tech projects being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Brad Tousley demonstrated a robot that would assist wounded warriors. (Associated Press)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s high-tech development center, is working on a program called Squad X that is focusing on human-machine interaction at the tactical level. The program includes ground robots, microdrones and squad-sized military units equipped with intelligence and super-lethal weapons that can cover large areas.

“And this is not as far away as you might think,” Mr. Work said, noting that the Army is conducting experiments with “manned and unmanned teaming” of Apache attack helicopters.

Robot-driven vehicles also are coming, along with human-sized robots used as porters, firefighters, countermine robots, and countersniper robots.
Read more here.

if you Choose...

Thanks to Christopher Buckley, who wonders why this PC notice is not posted also in Spanish, and one of his commenters wonders if it will be posted in Arabic for mosques.

Oh, by the way, the White House has one of these.

Now the real trial can begin

Andrew McCarthy observes that now that the jury in Boston has concluded that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is guilty on all thirty counts, the real trial can now begin.
When the death penalty is involved, … the jury also imposes the sentence, [which is] usually the task of the trial judge. A death-penalty case is thus a bifurcated trial, and it is the later sentencing phase that really matters.
Read more here.

Calling out hypocrites

Joel Kotkin documents how the Silicon Valley tech companies
On a host of issues—from the right to privacy to ethnic and feminine empowerment and social justice — the effects of the tech industry are increasingly regressive.

...The share of women in the tech industry is barely half of their 47 percent share in the total workforce.

...the valley’s own African-Americans and Hispanics (who make up roughly one-third of the population) now occupy barely 5 percent of jobs in the top Silicon Valley firms. They have not done well in the current tech “boom”: Between 2009 and 2011, earnings dropped 18 percent for blacks and 5 percent for Latinos, according to a 2013 Joint Venture Silicon Valley report.

...Nor can we expect tech firms to go out of their way to train or develop too many American-born workers, of whatever race, for their jobs. Instead the industry’s elites seek to get their employees through H-1B immigrants, largely from Asia. These workers are likely to be more docile, and more limited in their job options than native born or naturalized citizens. Given that there is a surplus of American IT workers, this brings to mind not global consciousness but instead the importation of the original coolie labor force brought to California to build the railroads.

And what about the sensible liberal idea that the rich and corporations should pay their “fair share” of taxes? ...Facebook paid no taxes in 2012, despite profits in excess of $1 billion. Apple, which even the New York Times described as “a pioneer in tactics to avoid taxes,” has kept much of its cash hoard abroad to keep away from Uncle Sam.

...If these actions were taken by oil companies or suburban developers, the mainstream media would be up in arms. Yet by embracing “progressive” values on issues like gay rights, the tech oligarchs are trying to secure a politically correct “get out of jail free” card. Monopolistic behavior, tax avoidance, misogyny, and privacy violations are OK, as long as you mouth the right words about gay rights and climate change — and have the money and the channels to broadcast your message.

...None of this is to say that the tech elites need to be broken up like Standard Oil or stigmatized like the tobacco industry. But it’s certainly well past the time for people both left and right to understand that this oligarchy’s rise similarly poses a danger to our society’s future. By their very financial power, plutocratic elites -- whether their names are Rockefeller, Carnegie, Page, Bezos or Zuckerberg -- need to be closely watched for potential abuses instead of being the subjects of mindless celebration from both ends of the political spectrum.
Read more here.

Good news for beheaded Christians and dead Jews

Time to rethink college

Is training to become a master auto mechanic, paramedic, or skilled electrician as valuable to society as a feminist-studies curriculum? Victor Davis Hanson writes that in our colleges today
There are far too many special studies courses and trendy majors — and far too few liberal-arts surveys of literature, history, art, music, math, and science that for centuries were the sole hallowed methods of instilling knowledge.

Administrators should decide whether they see students as mature, independent adults who handle life’s vicissitudes with courage and without need for restrictions on free expression. Or should students remain perennial weepy adolescents, requiring constant sheltering, solicitousness, and self-esteem building?

The now-predictable ideology of college graduation speakers should instead be a mystery. Students should not be able to guess the politics of their college president. Ideally, they might encounter as many Christians as atheists, as many reactionaries as socialists, or as many tea partyers as Occupy Wall Street protestors, reflecting the normal divisions of society at large.
Read more here.

It's not easy being the thought police

Victor Davis Hanson acknowledges that it is not easy being a PC enforcer. Some Christians may not want to bake a cake for a gay wedding, but then, come to think of it, neither would a Muslim bakery.
The CEO of Apple is outraged at the thought crimes of Indiana pizza-parlor owners who offer his trillion-dollar company no chance of lucre — but he is not outraged at the concretely homophobic culture of the Middle East or the religious intolerance of China, which are hooked on i-products. Are theoretical sins worse than actual ones?

We are back in spirit to the scripted outrage of a few years ago at Mormons in California for supposedly voting down gay marriage on a ballot proposition — until exit polls suggested that the state’s black voters had proved as much opposed to gay marriage as the so-called Religious Right. Figuring out who is and who is not an enemy of the people, and so subject to banishment to the PC gulag, is as difficult as it was for the Stalinists in the 1930s to hound out the last Russian counterrevolutionaries.

In the George Zimmerman case, we have to give the thought police of the New York Times and NBC News some credit for matching the untiring zealousness of Inspector Javert. The Timesinvented a new rubric, “white Hispanic,” to preempt any competing Zimmerman claim on ethnic victimhood. NBC doctored a 911 tape to make Zimmerman sound like a foul racist. Other news outlets tried to Photoshop away police images that had shown a bleeding Zimmerman after the fight; in contrast, Trayvon Martin, who by the time of the confrontation was a tall teenager, was often seen in photos as a cuddly preteen in his football uniform. But finally even the thought police could not stop a supposedly poor, honest woman of color who was a witness for the defense, Rachel Jeantel, from testifying as an unapologetic racist (“creepy-ass white cracker”) and homophobe who seemed to confirm the defense’s argument that Martin started the fight (“whoop ass”).

In the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., a nearly-300-pound thug — who had just strong-armed a liquor store, walked down the middle of the road under the influence, and rushed and attacked a policeman — had to be transmogrified by the thought police into a “gentle giant.” When Big Brother got through with Brown, he had been gunned down in cold blood by a racist cop after pleading for his life with a final “hands up, don’t shoot.” The makeover almost worked — if it were not for a few honest eyewitnesses and the laws of ballistics and criminal forensics. Note one constant “true lies” theme of thought policing, whether in Ferguson or in the recent Rolling Stone rape-allegations caper: When exposed, falsifiers never apologize to their real victims, whether the smeared Officer Darren Wilson or the University of Virginia fraternity members. Instead, we are subjected to ends-justifying-the means throat clearing and worries that the lies may prevent discussion of real racism or actual rapes — as if the untruth at least served some social good by raising our awareness.
Hanson goes on to write about Hillary's email "gibberish" and the "unexpected" sluggish economy. Then, he describes what surely must be the thought police's greatest challenge: the Iran nuclear deal.
The thought police have been busily at work. The Iranians will no doubt fear crossing Obama in the same way that Putin feared destroying reset, that Assad feared crossing the Obama red line on WMD use, and that the ISIS jayvees feared Obama. The only alternative to the Iran deal is supposedly a war ginned up by the neoconservatives — never tougher sanctions, embargoes, or blockades. Iran, unlike other nations in the Middle East, is supposedly a great and powerful country that deserves singular respect. The greater fear is that Republican extremists in the Senate could derail the sober and judicious diplomacy of foreign-policy pros like John Kerry.

Why fight them? Close your eyes like Winston Smith and accept that you kept your doctor, that your premiums and deductibles went down $2,500 a year as your coverage expanded, and that the health-care savings reduced the deficit. When you wake up in your pod with a snatched body, Bibi Netanyahu is a coward and chickens–t, and Hassan Rouhani a new American ally.
Read more here.


Seth Godin points out that both enthusiasm and contempt are self-fulfilling:

Someone who shows up with enthusiasm made a decision before she even encountered what was going on. The same thing is true for the guy who scowls with contempt before the customer opens his mouth.

It's a choice.

This choice is contagious.

This choice changes what will happen next.

This choice is at the heart of what it takes to be successful at making change or performing a service.

More than you imagine, we get what we expect.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The story behind the laughing bride

Comparison is the thief of joy

Scott Sauls writes,
the impulse to compare and compete does not always come from arrogance.

Sometimes it comes from a frightened, lonely, shame-filled place where the only instinct is survival—like minnows swimming among sharks.
Read more here.

Criminal malfeasance

Blood money

Scott Ott points out that the lifting of sanctions will
increase cash flow to the Iranian terror network.

American troops — as well as noncombatants — will pay for Obama’s nuclear deal with their flesh, their blood and their lives.

By lifting sanctions, the U.S. kickstarts the failing Iranian economy, and provides blood money to a nation whose shrapnel is embedded in the brains and torsos of innumerable U.S. troops who left their shattered limbs scattered in the desert, a nation whose activity and weapons are the cause on countless American death certificates, and whose armed agents today work to conquer U.S. influence — from Yemen, to Syria and Iraq, to North Africa and beyond.
Read more here.

Tsarnev released from captivity

Did you hear the news? Moments after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts, Obama released him from captivity, trading him for five terrorists at Guantanamo, who will be sent to
“any Islamic state, group or caliphate that will take them.”
Read the details at Scrappleface.

LBJ is his model

I doubt if this will help Jeb Bush's candidacy:
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said he would strive to be like Lyndon Johnson, the Democrat famous for expanding the U.S. welfare state through the “Great Society,” if he were elected president.

...“He went and he cajoled, he begged, he threatened, he loved, he hugged, he did what leaders do, which is they personally get engaged to make something happen,” Bush said of Johnson.
Read more here.

Will humans become artificial?

Tim Urban continues his superb analysis of the challenges of developing Artificial Intelligence:

Many, like professor Vernor Vinge, scientist Ben Goertzel, Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, or, most famously, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, agree with machine learning expert Jeremy Howard when he puts up this graph during a TED Talk:

Those people subscribe to the belief that this is happening soon—that exponential growth is at work and machine learning, though only slowly creeping up on us now, will blow right past us within the next few decades.

Others, like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, research psychologist Gary Marcus, NYU computer scientist Ernest Davis, and tech entrepreneur Mitch Kapor, believe that thinkers like Kurzweil are vastly underestimating the magnitude of the challenge and believe that we’re not actually that close to the tripwire.

The Kurzweil camp would counter that the only underestimating that’s happening is the underappreciation of exponential growth, and they’d compare the doubters to those who looked at the slow-growing seedling of the internet in 1985 and argued that there was no way it would amount to anything impactful in the near future.

...A third camp, which includes Nick Bostrom, believes neither group has any ground to feel certain about the timeline and acknowledges both A) that this could absolutely happen in the near future and B) that there’s no guarantee about that; it could also take a much longer time.

Still others, like philosopher Hubert Dreyfus, believe all three of these groups are naive for believing that there even is a tripwire, arguing that it’s more likely that ASI won’t actually ever be achieved.

What could ASI do for us?
Armed with superintelligence and all the technology superintelligence would know how to create, ASI would likely be able to solve every problem in humanity. Global warming? ASI could first halt CO2 emissions by coming up with much better ways to generate energy that had nothing to do with fossil fuels. Then it could create some innovative way to begin to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Cancer and other diseases? No problem for ASI—health and medicine would be revolutionized beyond imagination. World hunger? ASI could use things like nanotech to build meat from scratch that would be molecularly identical to real meat—in other words, it would be real meat. Nanotech could turn a pile of garbage into a huge vat of fresh meat or other food (which wouldn’t have to have its normal shape—picture a giant cube of apple)—and distribute all this food around the world using ultra-advanced transportation. Of course, this would also be great for animals, who wouldn’t have to get killed by humans much anymore, and ASI could do o lots of other things to save endangered species or even bring back extinct species through work with preserved DNA. ASI could even solve our most complex macro issues—our debates over how economies should be run and how world trade is best facilitated, even our haziest grapplings in philosophy or ethics—would all be painfully obvious to ASI.

Could ASI enable us to conquer mortality? Richard Feynman writes
there is nothing in biology yet found that indicates the inevitability of death. This suggests to me that it is not at all inevitable and that it is only a matter of time before the biologists discover what it is that is causing us the trouble and that this terrible universal disease or temporariness of the human’s body will be cured.

Kurzweil talks about intelligent wifi-connected nanobots in the bloodstream who could perform countless tasks for human health, including routinely repairing or replacing worn down cells in any part of the body. If perfected, this process (or a far smarter one ASI would come up with) wouldn’t just keep the body healthy, it could reverse aging. The difference between a 60-year-old’s body and a 30-year-old’s body is just a bunch of physical things that could be altered if we had the technology. ASI could build an “age refresher” that a 60-year-old could walk into, and they’d walk out with the body and skin of a 30-year-old.10 Even the ever-befuddling brain could be refreshed by something as smart as ASI, which would figure out how to do so without affecting the brain’s data (personality, memories, etc.). A 90-year-old suffering from dementia could head into the age refresher and come out sharp as a tack and ready to start a whole new career. This seems absurd—but the body is just a bunch of atoms and ASI would presumably be able to easily manipulate all kinds of atomic structures—so it’s not absurd.

The possibilities for new human experience would be endless. Humans have separated sex from its purpose, allowing people to have sex for fun, not just for reproduction. Kurzweil believes we’ll be able to do the same with food. Nanobots will be in charge of delivering perfect nutrition to the cells of the body, intelligently directing anything unhealthy to pass through the body without affecting anything. An eating condom. Nanotech theorist Robert A. Freitas has already designed blood cell replacements that, if one day implemented in the body, would allow a human to sprint for 15 minutes without taking a breath—so you can only imagine what ASI could do for our physical capabilities. Virtual reality would take on a new meaning—nanobots in the body could suppress the inputs coming from our senses and replace them with new signals that would put us entirely in a new environment, one that we’d see, hear, feel, and smell.

Eventually, Kurzweil believes humans will reach a point when they’re entirely artificial;11 a time when we’ll look at biological material and think how unbelievably primitive it was that humans were ever made of that; a time when we’ll read about early stages of human history, when microbes or accidents or diseases or wear and tear could just kill humans against their own will; a time the AI Revolution could bring to an end with the merging of humans and AI.12 This is how Kurzweil believes humans will ultimately conquer our biology and become indestructible and eternal—this is his vision for the other side of the balance beam. And he’s convinced we’re gonna get there. Soon.

Urban writes,
when you combine “unchartered, not-well-understood territory” with “this should have a major impact when it happens,” you open the door to the scariest two words in the English language:

Existential risk.

An existential risk is something that can have a permanent devastating effect on humanity. Typically, existential risk means extinction.

...There are three things that can cause humans an existential catastrophe:

1) Nature—a large asteroid collision, an atmospheric shift that makes the air inhospitable to humans, a fatal virus or bacterial sickness that sweeps the world, etc.

2) Aliens—this is what Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, and so many other astronomers are scared of when they advise METI to stop broadcasting outgoing signals. They don’t want us to be the Native Americans and let all the potential European conquerors know we’re here.

3) Humans—terrorists with their hands on a weapon that could cause extinction, a catastrophic global war, humans creating something smarter than themselves hastily without thinking about it carefully first…

Bostrom points out that if #1 and #2 haven’t wiped us out so far in our first 100,000 years as a species, it’s unlikely to happen in the next century.

#3, however, terrifies him. He draws a metaphor of an urn with a bunch of marbles in it. Let’s say most of the marbles are white, a smaller number are red, and a tiny few are black. Each time humans invent something new, it’s like pulling a marble out of the urn. Most inventions are neutral or helpful to humanity—those are the white marbles. Some are harmful to humanity, like weapons of mass destruction, but they don’t cause an existential catastrophe—red marbles. If we were to ever invent something that drove us to extinction, that would be pulling out the rare black marble. We haven’t pulled out a black marble yet—you know that because you’re alive and reading this post. But Bostrom doesn’t think it’s impossible that we pull one out in the near future. If nuclear weapons, for example, were easy to make instead of extremely difficult and complex, terrorists would have bombed humanity back to the Stone Age a while ago. Nukes weren’t a black marble but they weren’t that far from it. ASI, Bostrom believes, is our strongest black marble candidate yet.

...But when we think about highly intelligent AI, we make the mistake of anthropomorphizing AI (projecting human values on a non-human entity) because we think from a human perspective and because in our current world, the only things with human-level intelligence are humans. To understand ASI, we have to wrap our heads around the concept of something both smart and totally alien.

...So we’ve established that without very specific programming, an ASI system will be both amoral and obsessed with fulfilling its original programmed goal. This is where AI danger stems from. Because a rational agent will pursue its goal through the most efficient means, unless it has a reason not to.

...given the combination of obsessing over a goal, amorality, and the ability to easily outsmart humans, it seems that almost any AI will default to Unfriendly AI, unless carefully coded in the first place with this in mind. Unfortunately, while building a Friendly ANI is easy, building one that stays friendly when it becomes an ASI is hugely challenging, if not impossible.

If we program an AI with the goal of doing things that make us smile, after its takeoff, it may paralyze our facial muscles into permanent smiles. Program it to keep us safe, it may imprison us at home. Maybe we ask it to end all hunger, and it thinks “Easy one!” and just kills all humans. Or assign it the task of “Preserving life as much as possible,” and it kills all humans, since they kill more life on the planet than any other species.

...As for where the winds are pulling, there’s a lot more money to be made funding innovative new AI technology than there is in funding AI safety research…

...If ASI really does happen this century, and if the outcome of that is really as extreme—and permanent—as most experts think it will be, we have an enormous responsibility on our shoulders. The next million+ years of human lives are all quietly looking at us, hoping as hard as they can hope that we don’t mess this up. We have a chance to be the humans that gave all future humans the gift of life, and maybe even the gift of painless, everlasting life. Or we’ll be the people responsible for blowing it—for letting this incredibly special species, with its music and its art, its curiosity and its laughter, its endless discoveries and inventions, come to a sad and unceremonious end.

...people who understand superintelligent AI call it the last invention we’ll ever make—the last challenge we’ll ever face.
Read more here.

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Artificial Intelligence

Tim Urban writes at Wait But Why,
Imagine taking a time machine back to 1750—a time when the world was in a permanent power outage, long-distance communication meant either yelling loudly or firing a cannon in the air, and all transportation ran on hay. When you get there, you retrieve a dude, bring him to 2015, and then walk him around and watch him react to everything. It’s impossible for us to understand what it would be like for him to see shiny capsules racing by on a highway, talk to people who had been on the other side of the ocean earlier in the day, watch sports that were being played 1,000 miles away, hear a musical performance that happened 50 years ago, and play with my magical wizard rectangle that he could use to capture a real-life image or record a living moment, generate a map with a paranormal moving blue dot that shows him where he is, look at someone’s face and chat with them even though they’re on the other side of the country, and worlds of other inconceivable sorcery. This is all before you show him the internet or explain things like the International Space Station, the Large Hadron Collider, nuclear weapons, or general relativity.

...In order to think about the future correctly, you need to imagine things moving at a much faster rate than they’re moving now.

...while there are many different types or forms of AI since AI is a broad concept, the critical categories we need to think about are based on an AI’s caliber. There are three major AI caliber categories:

AI Caliber 1) Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI): Sometimes referred to as Weak AI, Artificial Narrow Intelligence is AI that specializes in one area. There’s AI that can beat the world chess champion in chess, but that’s the only thing it does. Ask it to figure out a better way to store data on a hard drive, and it’ll look at you blankly.

AI Caliber 2) Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): Sometimes referred to as Strong AI, or Human-Level AI, Artificial General Intelligence refers to a computer that is as smart as a human across the board—a machine that can perform any intellectual task that a human being can. Creating AGI is a much harder task than creating ANI, and we’re yet to do it. Professor Linda Gottfredson describes intelligence as “a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience.” AGI would be able to do all of those things as easily as you can.

AI Caliber 3) Artificial Superintelligence (ASI): Oxford philosopher and leading AI thinker Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.” Artificial Superintelligence ranges from a computer that’s just a little smarter than a human to one that’s trillions of times smarter—across the board. ASI is the reason the topic of AI is such a spicy meatball and why the words immortality and extinction will both appear in these posts multiple times.

As of now, humans have conquered the lowest caliber of AI—ANI—in many ways, and it’s everywhere. The AI Revolution is the road from ANI, through AGI, to ASI—a road we may or may not survive but that, either way, will change everything.

...Nothing will make you appreciate human intelligence like learning about how unbelievably challenging it is to try to create a computer as smart as we are. Building skyscrapers, putting humans in space, figuring out the details of how the Big Bang went down—all far easier than understanding our own brain or how to make something as cool as it. As of now, the human brain is the most complex object in the known universe.

What’s interesting is that the hard parts of trying to build AGI (a computer as smart as humans in general, not just at one narrow specialty) are not intuitively what you’d think they are. Build a computer that can multiply two ten-digit numbers in a split second—incredibly easy. Build one that can look at a dog and answer whether it’s a dog or a cat—spectacularly difficult. Make AI that can beat any human in chess? Done. Make one that can read a paragraph from a six-year-old’s picture book and not just recognize the words but understand the meaning of them? Google is currently spending billions of dollars trying to do it. Hard things—like calculus, financial market strategy, and language translation—are mind-numbingly easy for a computer, while easy things—like vision, motion, movement, and perception—are insanely hard for it. Or, as computer scientist Donald Knuth puts it, “AI has by now succeeded in doing essentially everything that requires ‘thinking’ but has failed to do most of what people and animals do ‘without thinking.'”

...So the world’s $1,000 computers are now beating the mouse brain and they’re at about a thousandth of human level. This doesn’t sound like much until you remember that we were at about a trillionth of human level in 1985, a billionth in 1995, and a millionth in 2005. Being at a thousandth in 2015 puts us right on pace to get to an affordable computer by 2025 that rivals the power of the brain.

How far are we from achieving whole brain emulation? Well so far, we’ve not yet just recently been able to emulate a 1mm-long flatworm brain, which consists of just 302 total neurons. The human brain contains 100 billion. If that makes it seem like a hopeless project, remember the power of exponential progress—now that we’ve conquered the tiny worm brain, an ant might happen before too long, followed by a mouse, and suddenly this will seem much more plausible.

...What we do know is that humans’ utter dominance on this Earth suggests a clear rule: with intelligence comes power. Which means an ASI, when we create it, will be the most powerful being in the history of life on Earth, and all living things, including humans, will be entirely at its whim—and this might happen in the next few decades.

...If our meager brains were able to invent wifi, then something 100 or 1,000 or 1 billion times smarter than we are should have no problem controlling the positioning of each and every atom in the world in any way it likes, at any time—everything we consider magic, every power we imagine a supreme God to have will be as mundane an activity for the ASI as flipping on a light switch is for us. Creating the technology to reverse human aging, curing disease and hunger and even mortality, reprogramming the weather to protect the future of life on Earth—all suddenly possible. Also possible is the immediate end of all life on Earth. As far as we’re concerned, if an ASI comes to being, there is now an omnipotent God on Earth—and the all-important question for us is:

Will it be a nice God?
Read more here.